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A Taiwanese couple in their 80s have become Instagram’s latest fashion influencers — with people’s forgotten laundry

At Wan-Sho Laundry in central Taiwan, run by owners -- Chang Wan-ji, 83 and his wife Hsu Sho-er, 84 -- while most garments that come for cleaning go back after the services, the ones left behind, sometimes for years, have now started featuring on Instagram.

Written by Shreya Das | New Delhi |
July 27, 2020 6:25:20 pm
taiwan laundry couple, taiwan laundromat couple, elderly laundry shop couple fashion, , want show as young, forgotten laundry fashion remodelling, viral news, good news, indian express With details of each outfit and how long it has stayed at their shop, the owners are trying to show how garments have remained with them for over a decade. (Source: Want Show as Young/ Instagram)

When it comes to style and fashion, age is no bar, which is what an octogenarian couple from Taiwan is proving to the world — one Instagram post at a time. Importantly, their message is also that of sustainability.

Chang Wan-ji, 83 and his wife Hsu Sho-er, 84, who own a laundry in central Taiwan, have turned into a viral sensation by posing in clothes either forgotten or not picked for whatever reason by customers from their laundromat.  While most garments that come for cleaning at their laundry, called Wan-Sho Laundry, are collected after the services, there are many that are not, sometimes for years. It is these garments that the couple wear and feature on their Instagram.

Their account – ‘Want Show as Young’ — shows the pair in the store sporting a mix-and-match of everything, from crop tops to jackets, accessorised with sunglasses and even berets.

The couple’s grandson, Reef Chang, who is also the brainwave behind the profile, told indianexpress.com that he was inspired by something he would often hear his grandparents say to customers when he would be in their shop as a child. “My grandpa has been running this business for almost 70 years, and ever since my childhood days, when I used to help them at the shop, I saw them reminding people ‘don’t forget to pick up your laundry’,” he said.

“Then Covid-19 arrived and with that boredom, which inspired me to do something fun so keep my grandparents entertained.”

The idea, Reef said, is to show that the clothes might be “old” or secondhand, but when styled right and carried with flair, it can still be fashionable. Their photos have taken social media by storm amassing over 3,50,000 followers in less than a month since the launch of the Instagram handle.

The couple posts details of each outfit, and also how long it has been lying at their shop. There are some garments that came to the shop over a decade ago.

Thirty-one-year-old Reef, who is also the couple’s stylist, said he “just wanted to give them some fun in their later years”.

 

“So, I asked them to reinterpret fashion, hoping to let everyone know that age is not a barrier to have fun in fashion and even old clothing can transformed into trendy outfits!,” he said in an email interview.

The family certainly never expected the huge fame. “I was really surprised,” Reef said, adding he had no idea so many people outside Taiwan would take this kind of interest in his grandparents.

Although the pair look quite relaxed posing in front of the camera, it wasn’t a smooth sailing in the beginning. “Although they agreed after being pursued by me, their first reaction was, ‘will anybody want to look at this and like it?” Reef said of the couple who have been married for 61 years.

Now that the account is getting love from all around, the couple couldn’t be happier. “They are very happy because many encourage them and praise them. They feel as if they now have many more grandchildren in the world,” Reef said. “Through these posts now, my grandparents also want to tell elderly people not to limit themselves and live every moment to the fullest.”  .

Chang Wan-ji and Hsu Sho-er never had any social media accounts, they are now slowly getting a hang of it, and also happily listening as their grandson translate people’s reactions to their posts.

Fans around the world have been not only commenting on their top-notch fashion game but also talking about how they are giving them couple goals. The posts have touched hearts of millions of people worldwide, and at a time when the elderly are most vulnerable and many of them are staying alone, people are moved to see Reef spending time with his grandparents and spreading joy.

“It’s really moving to know when people from various countries reach out and say ‘this is the most heartwarming thing in such a bad year’, and of course see my grandparents smile,” he said.

“What really touched me is many people sent really long messages, saying it reminded them that they haven’t spent much time with their grandparents. I just want to remind people to take care of our elders,” Reef added.

From Vogue to Cosmopolitan, the couple’s photos have featured in many fashion magazines as also a number of social media handles of leading fashion magazines.

About his next plan, Reef said: “After the main job is done, he would like to continue promoting sustainable fashion, which, in turn, would help the issue of environmental protection of the planet. Many people don’t realise that excess new clothings and discarding old clothes quickly actually harms the environment.”

The couple, meanwhile, also hope that the rightful owners of the garments claim them soon.

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